Nakhu jailbirds’ demands to be looked into

Kathmandu, February 25:

Protest programmes of Nakhu jail inmates, initiated by Maoist prisoners, have ground to a halt after assurances from the jail officials that their demands will be considered. The authorities reportedly promised the Maoist inmates that they would refer the matter to the high-ups concerning prison reformation and amendment of certain jail provisions.

Inmates demanded that the authorities respect human rights by ending the practice of taking ailing prisoners to hospitals in handcuffs and shackles, and torturing inmates.

They also called for an increase in the daily meal allowance of Rs 30 and that they be provided cooking utensils, a source told this daily.

They also called for extension of visiting hours until 5 pm. Visitors are allowed to meet the prisoners only until 3.30 pm.

The team comprising Krishna KC, former vice-president of the All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union-Revolutionary and other Maoist prisoners such as Krishna Hari Sainju, Ganesh Regmi, Chhetra Bahadur Shrestha held a meeting with prison officials, NHRC members and Lalitpur CDO representatives yesterday.

The inmates have been holding demonstrations and protest programmes since February 19 against the existing jail provisions and regulations.

“The jail authorities assured the Maoists that they would take up the matter with the higher authorities and request them to amend prison provisions as well as add fresh provisions based on the inmates’ demands,” the source said.

The inmates’ other demands were setting up a health centre in the jail premises, upgradation of the prison, computer and job-skills training for inmates, the source said.

Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Nain Bahadur Khatri stressed the need to reform prison conditions, thereby providing inmates better facilities and medical access. “Prisons and detention centres throughout the country have no proper facilities. Thus, the government should make an effort to reform prisons and detention centres,” he said.